Online programmes

Online workshops

Approaches to drawing

Tutor: Conor McGrady

Timeline: 5 online sessions on Wednesdays, starting May 5th from 17.00 – 18.30 (GMT)


This  workshop immerses you in the practice of drawing. Delivered through zoom, the workshop will explore aspects of still life, landscape and portraiture, exploring the techniques of observational drawing, chiaroscuro (dark and light) for dramatic effect and personal expression. The first two sessions will focus on Still Life, where you will be encouraged to set up a still life composition at home and instruction in approaches to representing form and exploring mark making will be demonstrated by the instructor via zoom. The following two sessions will focus on Landscape and Place, taking in a view from a window, be it of the natural environment, a garden or the urban landscape. The final session will focus on the Self-Portrait, and for this you will need access to a mirror. As with the Still Life, demonstrations will explore approaches to materials, techniques and the importance of personal expression. The workshop is suitable for beginners or those with experience who welcome the opportunity for participation, discussion and feedback.


Session 1

Still Life 1

Introductions and review of timetable & required materials.
You should set up a still life in advance of the start of the session. Use any objects of your choice. These can be traditional (fruit, bottles, flowers) or more experimental (clothing, fabric, toys, food, for example). Any group of objects will work. Please ensure that they are directly lit from one side if possible (either from a window or a from a desk lamp). The instructor will have a small still life set up in his studio and will demonstrate different approaches to media.
Session 2

Still Life 2

You have the option of working on the same still life as Session 1, or choosing and setting up in advance a new group of objects. As with Session 1, please ensure that they are directly lit from one side if possible (either a window or a from a desk lamp)
Session 3

Landscape 1

Choose a view from a window at home and set up your materials. This can be any view, either of the natural landscape, a garden or the urban landscape.
The instructor will focus on the view from his studio window, which features the Burren and a number of campus buildings, and will demonstrate different ways to approach representing space via different media.
Session 4

Landscape 2

You can work from the same view as Session 1 or choose a different view from a different window. Please note, you can work outside, though the glare on your phone or computer screen may obstruct your view of the demonstrations.
Session 5

Self Portrait

You will need to have a mirror for this session. We will look at how to construct the self- portrait via observation, basic geometry and the use of dark and light (chiaroscuro).

Tutor bio

Conor McGrady is Dean of Academic Affairs at Burren College of Art. He received a BA Hons from the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited internationally, with one-person exhibitions in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Zagreb. Group exhibitions include the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York and the Biennale of Contemporary Art, D-0 Ark Underground, Sarajevo-Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. His work has been reviewed in Flash Art, Art Papers, Artforum and Newsweek.